Two Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ABC Action News crew members were killed in a helicopter crash Tuesday night, the “devastated” station reported.
A pilot and photographer with 6ABC Action News went down with Chopper 6 in Washington Township, New Jersey, around 8:00 p.m. while returning from an assignment at the Jersey Shore.
The identities of the two victims, both males, have not yet been released by the station “because family members are still being notified about the crash,” the outlet said.
Both late crew members reportedly had a “long history” with ABC and had been working as part of the Action News team for years.
“Our hearts are just broken for these men. They’re broken for their families,” reporter Katherine Scott said.
“We just can’t believe this has happened.”
The cause of the crash is still being investigated, though it has been determined that the chopper’s altitude began dropping while returning to Philadelphia.
“Chopper 6 was last airborne over Wharton State Forest before it crashed in a remote section of the woods,” the outlet reported.
New Jersey State Park Police (NJSPP) located the debris field shortly after midnight.
A helicopter from a fellow Pennsylvania station, FOX43, captured footage of the wreckage as it burned in the woods.
— Gabrielle Mediak (@GabrielleMediak) December 20, 2023
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived at the crash site at 3:15 a.m. Wednesday and took control of the investigation.
“Due to the remote location of the scene and the limited visibility, it was determined at that point that the investigation would be suspended until sometime after daybreak,” said NJSPP Chief George Fedorczyk. “Know that our thoughts are with the pilots, their families, and the media community.”
“NTSB investigations involve three primary areas: the pilot, the aircraft, and the operating environment,” said board spokesperson Jennifer Gabris, adding that the helicopter will be taken to a secure facility for evaluation.
Officials have closed Quaker Bridge Road, Mullica River Road, and Middle Road within the forest as the investigation continues.
Chopper 6 was a 2013 American Eurocopter AS-350A-STAR, which 6ABC leased from North Carolina-based U.S. Helicopters Inc.
The helicopter company has reportedly been in touch with the victims’ families.
“We want to thank all of you for your words of comfort and your condolences as we mourn the loss of our colleagues,” the Action News team said to readers in its report.